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Darren Wilson's Star Witness Is A Liar And Her Testimony Is An Obvious Fraud. Ha! Ha!
"Witness 40" was a key witness to Darren Wilson's defenders because her story seemed to wholly confirm Darren Wilson's narrative of the events that led to Michael Brown's death. It is Witness 40 who described Brown as a drug-crazed lunatic who pummeled Wilson to near unconsciousness, ran away, then rushed Wilson like a football player, forcing Wilson to bring him down in a fusillade of gunfire.
As Chris Hayes expertly details in the video below, Fox News' Sean Hannity did everything but write "Witness 40" in loving cursive script and draw hearts around it in his Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. You don't have to watch it; who wants to watch Hannity voluntarily? Then again, Wonketteers tend to be sick freaks, so here you are, ya pervs:
But new investigative reports, first from activist Shaun King at Daily Kos , and now from The Smoking Gun , all but confirm two things: 1) Witness 40's testimony was a complete fabrication; and 2) She should have never been taken as credible in the first place.
The Smoking Gun discovered the identity of Witness 40, identifying her as 45-year-old Sandra McElroy, a St. Louis resident, a discovery that has now been confirmed by McElroy herself. So we'll drop the "Witness 40" code name and refer to her by her given name, which has such a lovely lilt.
Look, a lot of the stuff that TSG has dug up about McElroy's past is basically irrelevant. Having multiple bankruptcies, check fraud, being bipolar, and even, to our minds, her pro-Wilson social media messages -- none of that really discredits her as a witness. In a country in which so many people have criminal records and so many suffer under the weight of mental illnesses both diagnosed and undiagnosed, it would be unfair to use these details as a way of discrediting her testimony. What matters is whether McElroy was there and her testimony was credible. And the bigger question is whether it was sensible for the state to put this woman in front of a grand jury, given what they knew at the time.
The answers to these questions are no, no, and "are you freaking kidding me."
Before we dig into the details, it's important to note that McElroy did not approach police to offer her account of the events until Sept. 11 -- four weeks after the events in question. While it's understandable that someone might be reluctant to testify in the racially and politically fraught atmosphere surrounding Michael Brown's death, this also means that by the time she approached the police, the skeleton of Darren Wilson's version of events had already appeared in the media.
By the time she was interviewed by the FBI on Oct. 22, two full months had passed since Brown's death, and the day before that interview, The St. Louis Dispatch published an extensive story that laid out in precise detail Darren Wilson's account of Michael Brown's death.
This of course is only suggestive and circumstantial. Just because it's POSSIBLE that McElroy cribbed the details of her testimony from accounts of Darren Wilson's version of events taken from conservative blogs and mainstream press doesn't mean she DID do so. Maybe she didn't even follow the story all that closely, wracked from the trauma of witnessing such violent events. Yeah, about that...
In the weeks after Brown’s shooting -- but before she contacted police -- McElroy used her Facebook account to comment on the case. On August 15, she “liked" a Facebook comment reporting that Johnson had admitted that he and Brown stole cigars before the confrontation with Wilson. On August 17, a Facebook commenter wrote that Johnson and others should be arrested for inciting riots and giving false statements to police in connection with their claims that Brown had his hands up when shot by Wilson. “The report and autopsy are in so YES they were false,” McElroy wrote of the “hands-up” claims. This appears to be an odd comment from someone who claims to have been present during the shooting. In response to the posting of a news report about a rally in support of Wilson, McElroy wrote on August 17, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson.”
After meeting with St. Louis police, McElroy continued monitoring the case and posting online. Commenting on a September 12 Riverfront Times story reporting that Ferguson city officials had yet to meet with Brown’s family, McElroy wrote, “But haven’t you heard the news, There great great great grandpa may or may not have been owned by one of our great great great grandpas 200 yrs ago. (Sarcasm).” On September 13, McElroy went on a pro-Wilson Facebook page and posted a graphic that included a photo of Brown lying dead in the street. A type overlay read, “Michael Brown already received justice. So please, stop asking for it.” The following week McElroy responded to a Facebook post about the criminal record of Wilson’s late mother. “As a teenager Mike Brown strong armed a store used drugs hit a police officer and received Justis,” she stated.
Well, sometimes people share social media accounts and she has two daughters, so maybe they posted this stuff? Or maybe she was even hacked! People get hacked sometimes. Plus, let's say this DID happen, it's true that would demolish her testimony, but that doesn't mean that the process itself is complicit. How could anyone have known? It's not like she raised her right hand and solemnly swore to federal agents that she followed the case closely and got her testimony from social media accounts. Right?
PAGE 158: Witness admits to regularly searching the internet for facts about the case.
PAGE 170: Witness admits to commenting on articles about the cases for weeks before she ever claimed to be a witness.
PAGE 170: Witness admits to "using the N-Word half a dozen times" in her comments about the case.
PAGE 177: FBI agent asks her to explain some of her comments about the case. Witness #40 admits to saying, "they need to kill the fucking niggers" and the protests are "an ape-fest."
PAGE 177: Witness states that she and other Darren Wilson supporters have been making him homemade Christmas cards.
So when McElroy gave the FBI a statement that exactly matched Darren Wilson's version of events...? Well, we'll leave this jigsaw puzzle for toddlers out for you and see what you make of it.
But for some reason, it's not the timing of the story and the way it marches in lockstep with the accounts of Darren Wilson's narrative that fascinates us. It's not even the way that she admits that she might have gotten some of the details in her account of Michael Brown's death from media accounts of Wilson's testimony. It's the way that she describes the way she supposedly arrived at and left Canfield Drive, where she says she witnessed the events of Michael Brown's murder.
When asked what she was doing in Ferguson -- which is about 30 miles north of her home -- McElroy explained that she was planning to “pop in” on a former high school classmate she had not seen in 26 years.
Alright, fair enough. "Popping in" on a high school classmate from a quarter century ago isn't our thing exactly, but hey, people are different. Upon arriving in the apparently unfamiliar town of Ferguson, McElroy claims to have immediately gotten lost. She pulled over and asked for directions at the QT. This is what she said happened after she got directions, in her own words.
And I didn't follow them very well, instead of making a right out of QT, I made a left. And I realized I went the wrong way, so I made another immediate left.
But then I seen the apartments, my friend lived in an apartment. I thought, well, maybe I was in the right spot after all.
After proceeding in the opposite direction from the directions she was given, she saw some apartments and decided that since her friend lived in an apartment building, and these were apartment buildings, her friend must live in the buildings . She said this, under oath, to the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The mind reels. The FBI asked her a bit later how she knew that these apartment buildings were those apartment buildings, and I'll leave Shaun King to summarize this incredible answer:
When she gets to them, she says they look like the apartments she actually intended to visit of a friend of hers from high school in the '80s.
The FBI asks how she knew what they looked like and she said her friend sent her pictures of the apartments, but not the actual address of them for her to visit. Who does this?
We've got no smart-alecky remarks for this one, we're as lost as you are. But at this point, perhaps it would have been a good time to check that address again, maybe call her old pal from high school and ask her for some personalized directions? TSG:
Saddled with an incorrect address and no cell phone, McElroy claimed that she pulled over to smoke a cigarette and seek directions from a black man standing under a tree.
Or ... that. You could do that. It's when she gets out of the car to seek directions from a random black man (remember, she regularly describes black people as apes and niggers, so I'm not sure what gave her the courage and faith to approach a random member of this species and act for directions) that she says she saw the events that left Michael Brown dead. You can read the sordid details on your own, but let's skip forward to immediately after that. What did she do? King:
PAGE 132: The witness says she got in her car and left as soon as the shooting happened and then locked herself in her house for two weeks.
PAGE 134: She says the only person she told about what happened was her ex-husband but he swears he doesn't remember anything about the conversation because he's a heavily medicated person.
PAGE 146: The witness says she emailed the so-called friend she thought maybe lived in the Canfield Apartments in Ferguson the same day to tell her she got lost. When asked if they could see the email, she says she "deleted it."
PAGES 148-152: Now the witness is in a terrible place in her interrogation. She just can't explain how she drove off of Canfield Drive from the parking lot she said she was parked in. Mike Brown is dead in the middle of the street on one side. Darren Wilson's SUV and growing volume of police cars are at the other. The FBI agent basically destroys her entire story here because she says she somehow "zig-zagged" out of Canfield Drive in a way that was physically impossible on that day.
PAGE 154: FBI agent flat out tells Witness #40 that her story of exiting Canfield in her car is impossible.
PAGE 175: FBI agents show her pictures of every car that came in and out of Canfield on August 9 and ask her to identify which one is hers. She cannot find it. They then inform her that her car was never seen by anyone or any photos that day.
For the love of spacious skies and amber waves of grain and the purple mountain majesties and the fruited plains that lie beneath them someone please tell us that based upon THESE FACTS ALONE, the state prosecutors declined to put McElroy in front of the Ferguson grand jury ...
Despite an abundance of red flags, state prosecutors put McElroy in front of the Ferguson grand jury the day after her meeting with the federal officials. After the 12-member panel listened to a tape of her interview conducted at the FBI office, McElroy appeared and, under oath, regaled the jurors with her eyewitness claims.
McElroy’s grand jury testimony came to an abrupt end at 2: 30 that afternoon due to obligations of some grand jurors. But before the panel broke for the day, McElroy revealed that, “On August 9th after this happened when I got home, I wrote everything down on a piece of paper, would that be easier if I brought that in?”
“Sure,” answered prosecutor Kathi Alizadeh.
“Because that’s how I make sure I don’t get things confused because then it will be word for word,” said McElroy, who did not bother to mention her journaling while speaking a day earlier with federal investigators.
McElroy would return to the Ferguson grand jury 11 days later, journal pages in hand and with a revamped story for the panel.
Before testifying about the content of her notebook scribblings, McElroy admitted that she had not driven to Ferguson in search of an African-American pal she had last seen in 1988. Instead, McElroy offered a substitute explanation that was, remarkably, an even bigger lie.
McElroy, again under oath, explained to grand jurors that she was something of an amateur urban anthropologist. Every couple of weeks, McElroy testified, she likes to “go into all the African-American neighborhoods.” During these weekend sojourns -- apparently conducted when her ex has the kids -- McElroy said she will “go in and have coffee and I will strike up a conversation with an African-American and I will try to talk to them because I’m trying to understand more.”
Instead of quoting from this "journal," let's post a screenshot to capture it in all its curlicued glory:
Okay. For the record, that reads "Well I'm gonna take my random drive to Florisant. Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks Niggers and Start calling them People." We just want everyone to be crystal clear: we did not make this up. This is not a joke, this is an actual picture of the journal entry which she says she wrote before heading out to Ferguson.
There's more to dig into, and you can go to TSG or Shaun King and read that. You can even, as we did, go directly to the source and read all the grand jury testimony yourself.
But here's the bottom-line: Witness 40, who we now know is Sandra McElroy, was not on Canfield Drive and did not witness the shooting. Moreover, you did not need to know that she was Sandra McElroy, or know anything else than what she swore to under oath, to know that her testimony was a complete fabrication. All you needed to do was to listen to the words coming out of her own mouth to know that she was lying. Everyone who came in contact with her knew this. The local police knew this, The FBI knew this, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch knew this. So why place this rolling clowncar of a testimony in front of a jury? Why contaminate the minds of the jurors with lies, even if they probably could identify them as lies? How could this be justice? We don't have any comforting answers, and we're out of jokes.